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Out & About in Cleveland

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Happy Dog Takes on the World and a Fundraiser for Shannon Gallagher

We went to two very different events on Tuesday night, October 7th. The first one was a fundraiser at Massimo's on West 25th Street for Ms. Shannon M. Gallagher who is the democratic candidate for Judge, Common Pleas Court. We like Ms. Gallagher because she has 14 years of experience working in law in different capacities as a probation officer, civil staff attorney, labor relations adviser and appellate lawyer. Regarding the latter, Ms. Gallagher is a judicial attorney and certified by the Ohio State Bar Association in the State of Ohio in the field of Appellate law as a Specialist-one of only 27.

She now works for the 8th District Court of Appeals and Judge Ken Rocco from that court was there at the fundraiser to support her because he would really like to see her win and believes that she will win; in fact, he was willing to wager a small sum that she will. We also liked meeting Ms. Gallagher's mother, Ms. Nancy Gallagher who taught in the Cleveland Public Schools for 37 years before she retired in 2010. For over twenty years of her tenure, she taught first grade at William Collin Bryant Elementary School in Old Brooklyn.

We had dinner with Mr. Timothy M. Bennett, Sr., Board Chair of the Hough Development Corporation and Deputy Ward Leader for Ward 7 who is helping Ms. Gallagher with her campaign. Mr. Bennett was accompanied by Mr. Jeff Mixon who was working with him on this project. We discussed immigration issues for a few minutes and mentioned to them that Ms. Gallagher had told us is that Common Pleas Court has very little to do, if anything, with immigration matters. We also talked about immigration with Mr. Lon D. Stolarsky, the Prosecutor of the City of Solon who told us that an Indian Community Center in Solon is being built so we are anxious to find out more about it.

Stopping off at Ms. Gallagher's fundraiser was former Ohio House Speaker and Cuyahoga County Executive candidate Armond Budish. To be sure, we told him that we were disappointed that, during the County Executive debate last week, neither he nor his opponent spoke about how immigration can really help a region. Mr. Budish was very receptive to what we had to say.

Another thing that we like Ms. Gallagher is that she is a second generation Irish American who paternal grandparents immigrated to the United States from Ireland and settled in Cleveland. She is very proud of her roots and is a member of both the East Side and West Side Irish American Clubs. Moreover, she has the distinction of being the first judicial candidate in Ohio to be endorsed by the "Ohio Irish American News."

Our second event was part of a discussion series that we really enjoy called "Happy Dog Takes on the World" presented by the City Club of Greater Cleveland and the Cleveland Council on World Affairs. The topic was "The Origins of Isis and its Place in Political Islam" and it featured two prominent educators Dr. Hugh Roberts, Edward Keller Professor of North African and Middle Eastern History at Tufts University and Dr. Pete W. Moore, Marcus A. Hanna Associate Professor of Political Science at CWRU. It was moderated by Mr. Tony Ganzer of WCPN.

Both panelists were extremely well-educated on matters pertaining to the Middle East and American Foreign Policy. In many ways, they agreed with Dr. James Zogby of the Arab American Institute, who spoke at the Union Club about two weeks ago, regarding the origins of the problem that may have started with our invasion of Iraq in 2003 which destabilized Iraq and left a void that Isis is attemping to fill. It has a lot of appeal to the disenfranchised and to passionate younger people. Thus, Dr. Roberts and Mr. Moore took a very firm view that Isis is a political problem and not a religious one. Dr. Moore, in fact, compared Isis to the Khymer Rogue and/or organized crime. Just like in organzed crime, Isis collects taxes and offers protection. Fighting Isis will be very difficult without a carefully coordinated "boots on the ground" policy and so we may have to turn to Iran, the Syrian government and perhaps Turkey to assist with the manpower if any sort of success is to be achieved.

From a humanitarian viewpoint, both speakers said that more aid must be sent and called for the United States to be a leader. Dr. Moore pointed out that Cleveland has done a great job in taking in people from Syria, Iraq and Somalia and basically said let's see more of it.

Another chilling thing that both Dr. Roberts and Dr. Moore believe is that, in the words of Dr. Roberts, "there is no endgame...this is going to go on for a long time..."

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